Belfast Telegraph

East African children in care of social services after being found in Belfast's harbour area

It is understood a number of young people from Eritrea have been discovered in different locations across the city since the start of August. [Stock pic]
It is understood a number of young people from Eritrea have been discovered in different locations across the city since the start of August. [Stock pic]

By Eimear McGovern

At least 10 children from east Africa have been placed in the care of the Belfast Trust after being found in the city's harbour area last week.

It has been reported some of the children said they travelled to Northern Ireland in a shipping container holding up to 50 people, however a police source said this was not the case.

It is understood a number of young people from Eritrea have been discovered in different locations across the city since the start of August.

It is understood that six were discovered in the harbour area of the city in the second week of October while three others presented themselves to the authorities the following week.

A number of teenagers are now in the care of Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, some of whom are in children's homes. 

A source said the teenagers, who were tired, cold and hungry when discovered, are now being looked after.

A spokesperson for the PSNI said: "We are liaising with the relevant Heath Trust to understand the circumstances around a number of unaccompanied children who have been taken into the care of social services. Our first priority is the safety and wellbeing of the children involved."

A Belfast Harbour Police spokeswoman said they had not been aware of the incident and that they were not carrying out an investigation.

A spokesman for Belfast Social Care Trust last night declined to comment on the reports.

Patrick Corrigan, head of Nations and Regions for Amnesty UK, tweeted: “Thank goodness these children are now safe.”

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